Globally there has been a remarkable shift towards vegetarianism and veganism in recent years. A shift driven by a number of factors. Firstly, our appreciation of the health benefits of a meat-free diet. Secondly, a growing consciousness of the environmental impact that our food choices have. Thirdly, food contamination scandals that have made us think more carefully about how our food gets from field to fork. Read on to discover what is on offer for vegetarians in Hong Kong including our fabulous Vegetarian & Vegan Food and Cultural Tour. We’ve also provided links to a few other helpful resources for you to find vegetarian and vegan options in our city. Continue reading “Discover Vegetarian Hong Kong”
Month: November 2019
Have Yourself a Merry Little Hong Kong Christmas
Here’s our pick of Hong Kong Christmas Festive Fun and Events
Christmas Lights Cruise
All aboard for the Lazy Days Christmas Lights Cruise throughout December. Cruise through the harbour with festive mince pies and free-flow drinks, including mulled wine.
Prices from HK$500-HK$800.
Movies by Moonlight
Moonlit Movies is a smorgasbord of films that will be screened outdoors. It’s a mixed bag of Christmas themed offerings and crowd-pleasing favourites. 27 November – 22 December.
Tickets are HK$80 per person, + HK$10 admin fee when booking.
First up, Christmas almost isn’t Christmas without the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This timeless Christmas classic, set to Tchaicovsky’s famous score, is showing at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from 20 to 29 December.
Ticket prices start at HK$ ranging up to HK$1000
Sleeping Beauty Pantomime
Next we recommend the Sleeping Beauty Christmas Panto. Hong Kong Players are staging their 58th Christmas Pantomime. The Pantomime is a British Christmas staple. If you’re unfamiliar with this seasonal genre, it’s a completely family friendly slapstick show based loosely on our favourite fairy tales, with plenty of audience interaction, smoke, mirrors and magic.
Sleeping Beauty runs from 5-15 December 2019. Prices range from HK$300-400.
Have yourself a Disney little Christmas
Obviously, The Magic Kingdom is already sprinkled with fairy dust, but with Christmas coming, there is even more sparkle. Hong Kong Disneyland has a number of festive events including a Frozen Fantasy Garden village to coincide with launch of the new Frozen 2 movie. Meet your favourite characters and watch the parade.
Pacific Place Santa’s Grotto
Pacific Place in Admiralty is THE place in town to visit Santa. According to their website tickets are on sale now and the grotto will be open from December 1-25. Once they go on sale, we promise you they will fly out the door faster than Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve, so you need to be quick!
You can also register your little ones for a Treasure Hunt and Storytelling Sessions.
Christmas at the Peak
The new-look Peak Galleria at Victoria Peak is a place to check out for some great Christmas events. See our list below also which includes some Christmas dinner suggestions at this location as well.
Free or Pocket Friendly
Hong Kong Christmas Lights
The annual Christmas lights on Hong Kong’s skyscrapers are free, just take an evening stroll along Tsim Tsa Tsui promenade for a spectacular view. Nearby Harbour City and 1881 Heritage are also known for impressive Christmas displays, so we suggest starting or finishing your promenade walk here. Alternatively hop aboard the Star Ferry for just a couple of dollars and see the lights from the water.
Christmas Carols and Services
St John’s Cathedral hosts a Christingle service on Christmas Eve, but it’s highly popular, so we’d recommend getting there early. There are plenty of services throughout the festive period.
Please check here for a list of times and dates.
Celebrate Christmas Day in Style
Quite a few of our favourite Christmas markets have already been and gone, but don’t worry, we’ve put together a Homegrown Hong Kong Gift Guide with plenty of ideas to help you with any last-minute seasonal shopping.
O Christmas Tree!
If you’re spending Christmas in Hong Kong, then you’re going to need a tree.
- Sophie’s trees has been supplying Hong Kong residents with Christmas foliage for 20 odd years.
- Sai Kung’s Wah King Garden is ready for Christmas shoppers, supplying Christmas trees and a beautiful crop of poinsettia plants.
- Head to Mongkok’s flower market for your Christmas tree and decoration needs.
- Ikea sells affordable real and artificial Christmas trees and also supplies decorations, gift wrap and a few edible festive goodies. Outlets are in Causeway Bay, Kowloon and Shatin.
If you fancy gorging on traditional Christmas fare without all the hassle of cooking and washing up, you can try to make a reservation at any of the following during the festive season:
- The Envoy at boutique hotel the Pottinger marries British influences with Asian food in a old school setting.
- Jimmy’s Kitchen in Central has been a stalwart of colonial nostalgia and British comfort food for over 90 years.
- Oolaa is a sleek bar and restaurant with a steak and wine kind of offering.
- The Globe is Hong Kong’s original Gastro Pub. We took a peek at the menu and were delighted to discover that Christmas crackers are included.
- The King’s Belly and The Fat Belly Butcher and Gin House are in Tai Po up in the New Territories. The King’s Belly is a sports bar and the Fat Belly is it’s more upmarket counterpart.
- Rajasthan Rifles is a new addition to the Peak Galleria, emanating Anglo-Indian vibes of the 1920’s, a great setting for some classic Christmas lunch with a twist
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall is hosting A Viennese New Year on 30 and 31 December. Enjoy this well-loved repertoire including classics such a The Blue Danube and Champagne Gallop. The performance features Hong Kong’s Philharmonic Orchestra, soprano Danae Kontora and Conductor Christopher Warren-Green. Performances start at 8pm, tickets are from HK$180.
New Years Eve Cruise
Enjoy the free-flow hospitality and freshly cooked menu onboard a luxury yacht for a New Year’s Eve party like no other. Hong Kong Greeters are the ticketing agent for this exclusive cruise on 31st December, don’t miss it! New Years Eve Cruise
Price HK$2,500. Adults only.
How to catch a bus to Macau from Hong Kong
Since October 2018 it has been possible to take a bus to Macau from Hong Kong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Previously Macau was only accessible from Hong Kong by ferry. The ferry is still a great option, but so is the bus over the new bridge and there are a number of pluses to taking the bus. Side note: In Hong Kong we refer to Macau as Macau, in Macau they spell it Macao.
What and Where is Macau?
Macau is just across the water from Hong Kong. Like Hong Kong it is a Special Administrative Region of China and like Hong Kong you don’t need a China visa to visit (but you will need your passport). As a former Portuguese colony, there is some beautiful architecture and it is more laid back and less crowded than Hong Kong. And if you love pandas, you have a much better chance of seeing them here (not in the wild). It makes for a great day trip or overnight stay that you can add to your Hong Kong itinerary. Famous for its casinos and colonial era Portuguese architecture, seafood and egg tarts, you won’t be disappointed. Basically a Macau tour makes for an excellent complementary day trip from Hong Kong.
Reasons to take a bus to Macau
- Time efficient – The bus ride only takes around 40 minutes vs 55 minutes by ferry.
- Close to airport, which is ideal if you are just on a layover and don’t want to trek into Kowloon or Central to take the ferry.
- Longest sea crossing in the world. From Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai, including a 12km tunnel under the seabed is 55km.
- Open all hours – Buses run 24 hours a day, at 5 minute intervals.
- Price Bus Tickets start from HK$65 each way vs ferry prices which start from $160 each way.
- No seasickness It can get a little rough out on the water
All that being said, the ferry is more spacious with toilets on board and snacks and drinks available, and takes you right into downtown Macau.
How to Get to the Macau Bus Terminus
Before you catch the bus, you obviously need to make your way to the Bus Terminus which is located on Immigration Island, accessible directly by bus, taxi or private vehicle. Parking here has a daily rate of HK $320, or, if you prebook via their website, you can halve the daily rate to HK $160 per day.
From Hong Kong International Airport
It’s located close to the airport on man-made island named Immigration Island. From Hong Kong Airport it’s quick and cheap to take either a Bus (look for B4) or head to the taxi rank and hop in a cab. (The blue taxi is the most cost effective, but any taxi will do).
From elsewhere in Hong Kong
You can either take a taxi from your hotel, which is the most straightforward, but expensive option. Otherwise head first to the airport by bus or MTR and then a bus or take a taxi from your hotel. *At time of writing, the Airport Express has been offering limited service due to protest action. Please check if you will be able to travel. If unsure, a taxi is probably the best option.
You can pay for your outward journey with your Octopus card, however when buying your ticket back to Macau, you will need cash or credit card. You can use Hong Kong Dollars in Macau, so you don’t need to be concerned about converting more currency. However, be aware that when paying in Hong Kong Dollars, you will receive change in Macau Patacas… and sadly the use of them isn’t reciprocated in Hong Kong. Oh and as a little FYI, if you are gambling in Macau, nearly all casinos use Hong Kong Dollars as their house currency not Patacas.
Once through passport control, signposting to the bus is clear. Please note, there are no restroom facilities or refreshments available once you board the bus. Once you have boarded, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
And you’re off…
From the bridge you will see the island studded sea (unless visibility is poor, in which case you won’t see much). Hong Kong’s famous and highly endangered pink dolphin population live close by, so there may even be the sliver of a possibility of spotting one. The best and most conservation-friendly way to get up close with the pink dolphins is by booking a boat trip with our friends at Dolphin Watch.
Arriving in Macau
Upon reaching Macau, the terminal is vast. So be prepared for a little bit of walking to get through the terminal. Once outside you will find taxis and free shuttle buses to the ferry terminals. Here’s one current downside to taking the bus to Macau. When disembarking the ferries there is a line of free buses going to most of the major casino hotels. For now at least, when arriving by bus, you would have to first take a shuttle from the arrival port on to one of the ferry terminals and then take a second free shuttle bus onward to the casino hotels.
Driving to Macau in a private vehicle
Recently the bridge has been opened up to private vehicles. If you want to drive to Macau, please check the Hong Kong Government website for up to date step-by-step instructions. We too can provide a car transfer service to the immigration point in Macau on the other side of the bridge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for booking, this service is HK $2,500 for a one-way trip and HK $4,200 for return trips.
The Perfect Day in Macau
The BEST way to see Macau is to take a tour. Our private tour guide Aubrey is the man for the job,
Depending on your requirements and how much time you have available, here are some of the highlights we can include for you:
- Famous Portuguese egg tart (custard tart) tasting
- Penha Church, Mandarin’s House, Lilau Square, Moorish Barracks and A-Ma Temple
- Lunch at Portuguese restaurant or Chinese dim sum restaurant
- Giant Panda Pavillion
- Guia Lighthouse and Fort
- Ruins of St. Paul’s, section of old city wall, Na Tcha Temple, Monte Fort
- Drive-thru tour on Cotai Strip with stops for photos taking and visit the Venetian Macao
Find full details about our Macau tours with Aubrey here.
If you’re staying longer you can explore the casinos at your leisure, visit the Galaxy water park or go up the 338 metre tall Macau Tower where you can simply enjoy the observation deck or try one of the adrenalin activities such as a sky walk or bungee jump. While on your Macau tour, check with Aubrey for restaurant recommendations and other tips to get the most out of your visit.
Happy Valley’s History of Horses and Hearses
Happy Valley is Hong Kong’s original race course, have you ever thought about going to the races while you’re in town? Horse racing is a big deal here and there are so many different ways to enjoy it. We shared our top tips and the inside scoop with Hong Kong Hub in a recent article. We provided a breakdown of all the different ways to enjoy a trip to the races, whether you’re going as a couple or a group. Our tips are useful for both the novice and the seasoned pro. Find the link to the full article at the bottom of the post.
While we were researching the article we learned about Happy Valley’s History.
Why Happy Valley is Ironically Named
There are two racecourses in Hong Kong. The original Happy Valley racetrack was founded in 1846 on what was the only flat land on Hong Kong Island. Previously a malarial swamp, the naming of Happy Valley was ironic. Many people fell victim to tropical maladies, meaning that Happy Valley was once anything but. To this day there are cemeteries adjacent to the racecourse. They serve as a reminder of the areas’ history.
It’s possible to visit the cemeteries. There are a number of cemeteries all in close proximity including a Roman Catholic cemetery and a Muslim one. There are also Jewish, Hindu and Parsee ones too. They date back to Hong Kong’s early days and are the resting place of many of the movers and shakers of times gone by.
Despite these not so happy beginnings, the racetrack has flourished since the swamp was drained. Nowadays the track is surrounded by skyscrapers, which add to the atmosphere on race nights when they are lit up.
The newer Shatin racecourse in the New Territories opened in 1978. This is the racecourse for the more serious racing fans.
Want to go to the races? We’re here to help.
If you are interested in adding a trip to the races to your itinerary when visiting Hong Kong, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. To find out more about Hong Kong’s darker side, enquire about our Sin City Tour. Please note that as a rule our tours and outings are family friendly, however the racetracks are strictly for over 18’s and the Sin City tour is for over 16’s. Therefore, if you are travelling with children, perhaps consider alternative evening entertainment, such as a trip to the Xiqu Centre to watch Cantonese Opera or visiting a night market and watching the light show as part of one of our night tours.
Horse Racing in Hong Kong: Get Your Pulse Racing at Happy Valley Racecourse